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Woops, It Happened Again

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It’s so warm. Soft. Squishy yet also firm in some places. It smells good, comforting, familiar. It smells like…Daniel? Are these things wrapped around me…arms?

Seongwoo’s eyes snapped open. He barely stopped himself from screaming. Directly in front of him was a bare chested, glowing, princely handsome Daniel. With his arms wrapped around his shoulders, pulling him snug to his chest like he was his cherished teddy bear he needed to hug at night in order to sleep peacefully.

Why am I in bed with him? Why are we naked? What happened last night? Good lord, how drunk did I get?

As he got distracted admiring the close-up view of his crush’s incredible Adonis-like body, some broken flashbacks pounded into his brain like a hammer, startling him enough to make him gasp, causing the back of his head to ache as if it was being split with an ax. His eyes expanded and his hand planted over his dropped mouth.

The images were chopped, fast paced, and scandalously steamy as if he were watching clips from an erotic film. Tearing off each other’s clothes. Being slammed into the wall, grinding with only their pants on. Getting tossed on the bed mostly naked. Attacking with fierce bites, leaving bruises and marks on their pale skin as they rolled all over the bed, battling for who was going to be dominant. Fingers digging into hair and plunging into wet orafaces. Heads thrown back and toes curling in ecstasy. Sweaty, smooth bare legs tangling as they shifted suggestively. Hands linked and pinned as they slammed their lower halves together, passionately crying each other’s names.

“Shit…I seriously slept with Daniel…And it was hot as hell…”

He rolled onto his side, facing the other way because he felt shy. Daniel followed, burying his nose into his nape and squeezing around his chest. Seongwoo smiled softly, leaning down a bit to kiss his hand. The sweet moment was short lived, however. Sitting on the table were some strange things that made him slip into another wave of panic, only more intense. Taking a look at their hands and seeing a gleaming strip of metal that surely hadn’t been there yesterday made it all the worse.

“We didn’t?!”

 

 

Seongwoo: Minhyun…sorry to bother you on your honeymoon..

Minhyun: It’s okay. Jaehwan is sleeping in, being a lazy hamster all burrowed in the blankets. He stole all of mine, this rascal.

Seongwoo: Aw. I love that I can feel the love in your texts. Hope you’ve been having a good time. Where is the cruise boat passing now?

Minhyun: Seongwoo. Quit deflecting. What’s the matter?

Seongwoo: Well, it’s not exactly that something is wrong with me. But. Well. I pulled a Minhwan.

Minhyun: Eh? What’s that supped to mean? Be careful how you answer that. Best friend rights might be removed.

Seongwoo: I guess it’s better to explain with photos. A photo explains a thousand words, especially if it’s a long foolish tale.

 

Daniel groaned when Seongwoo slipped out of his arms. Despite the dawning realization of memories flying about his mind like a movie on fast forward, the other was so adorable and he felt a rush of affection for him that was almost alarming. This was his friend that he’d been crushing on but their relationship went from 10 to 1,000 overnight and he wasn’t certain how to be feeling about it. It wasn’t, after all, just a normal hook-up that he could be over the moon about.

“I’ll be right back, Niel,” he whispered, squeezing the long, pretty fingers that were clamping over his.

After he promised, the blonde with so much natural body heat that he’d kicked off the blankets and apparently been his furnace instead all night loosened his grip after hearing the promise. Seongwoo bit his lip, fighting with himself. He shouldn’t linger and he shouldn’t enjoy. This was not a relationship that had much hope to last after all that had happened, especially considering how he was with the idea of commitment.  It was one thing to drunken, casually sleep with a friend he was attracted to; another to have made a very serious promise with someone that he’d never even gone on a date with.

As his fuzzy brain recalled, he’d only been trying to act on his long-lasting, pent-up attraction and have some fun last night while they had an excuse to be dumb and flirty. Maybe become casual boyfriends or friends with benefits. That was as far as he wanted to ever upgrade their status.

Daniel was nice, perfect even. Seongwoo adored him. He was always fun to hang out with. They could talk for hours about anything. Their humor codes matched. He was even caring and protective of him like a born gentleman. Daniel was never the issue as to why he hadn’t yet confessed his feelings and pursued a relationship. It was that he himself wasn’t good enough for someone that wonderful to have to put up with for the rest of their lives. He wasn’t the sort to get serious with anyone because he’d long ago lost his belief in everlasting love.

Seongwoo bit his lip, fighting back tears as regret and distress washed over him.

What the hell am I going to do to fix this without destroying our friendship and breaking his heart? How is this possible? Where’s my damn time turner?

 

He went around the room, snapping a couple of pictures to send to Minhyun.

*photo of them holding hands in bed with the rings clearly visible next to each other *photo of a veil on the desk and a tuxedo tie on the floor *photo of their signed marriage certificate

 

Minhyun: Oh. That’s what you meant. Pulled a Minhwan.

HAHAHAHA. THE IRONY. What did I tell you when this happened to me?

KARMA IS A BITCH.

Seongwoo: Hwang Minhyun, don’t be mean! >.<

Minhyun: Sorry. Guess I’m still bitter a bit after your endless teasing back then. How’d it happen?

Seongwoo: You can guess.

Minhyun: Drunk?

Seongwoo: Yeah, but I remember. Unlike your flat, dumb (but now I realize, quite lucky) ass.

Minhyun: Oh, and it’s with your friend. That’s probably worse.

Seongwoo: It is.

Minhyun: Considering your take on marriage too.

Seongwoo: Sigh. Sadly. Still feeling the same about it after the fact.

Minhyun: Well, I’m on my honeymoon for my second marriage with the same cute hamster so I’d love to help you, but I’d love to enjoy my trip with my husband more. So…

Good luck~

Seongwoo: Ugh. Karma really is a bitch. Why’d I even tell you? Worthless friend :p

Minhyun: Well, I taught you a little trick to snatch a super fine man, huh?

Seongwoo: Don’t call Daniel fine!

Minhyun: Brat culture. Why not? Cus he’s yours? ;)

Seongwoo: Yes, that’s right. He’s mine!

I mean, no! Just cus. Whatever. I’m going.

Minhyun: Enjoy your snuggle time, brat. With your (redacted) hubby.

Seongwoo: … You too.

 

 

Seongwoo returned to the room as Minhyun suggested, feeling distressed and annoyed. Until he saw Daniel’s angelic sleeping face, that was. Then an eery, dreamy like calm washed over him like a cleansing, refreshing, comforting mist. Somehow Daniel could magically heal his moods like that.

The blonde was on his back with his legs splayed wide and his hands folded across his head. He looked like a sexy cute caramelly skinned frog. Seongwoo sat down, chuckling softly, thinking about how much he liked this person who was a charming mix of childish and manly, smoldering hot and pure adorable fluff. It was a wonder that he’d held back from blurting out his feelings off for this long, keeping their relationship ambiguous, in between close, flirty brothers and something more. Honestly, he should give himself some credit. His sober self, that was.

“Just what happened? It’s not like it’s the first time we’ve drank alone together. The sexual tension and fuzzy feelings have been there for ages as well. This wasn’t how I planned on getting together. Maybe there’s something weird about Vegas that makes you lose control of all reason. Like a witch cast a spell over it to make attractive friends get romantically involved and do seriously stupid, impulsive things…”

By chance he saw Daniel’s phone flashing from the pocket of his discarded pants in the midst of debating if he wished to steal some cuddling time or not. It seemed that he’d gotten a message, probably from Jaehwan. He didn’t expect that Minhyun would keep it secret for long, but it hadn’t even been five minutes.

“That sneaky fox. See if I talk to you again when you get back,” Seongwoo grumbled before sliding the phone across the carpet with his bare toes.

Some sparkles from the sequins and plastic crystals on the band of the veil he’d likely worn earlier caught his eye, making him wince and a foreboding chill down his spine. That and the ring certainly dashed his hopes that it was all a dream or that they’d merely been fooling around.

Did I seriously drunk marry my friend that I haven’t even confessed I had feelings to before? Damn. What a way to jump the gun. Talk about out of the fry pan and into the fire. Yah, this shit brain! I’m so done with you too!

He clutched the edge of the bed and kicked the floor to prevent himself from tossing out a river of nasty curses. Jaehwan had sent him a freaking e-card, congratulating them on their marriage. He didn’t hesitate to delete it, then temporarily marked his email as spam and put his SNS on mute so that Daniel wouldn’t see if he attempted to contact him.

After sending Minhyun a scolding message to control his hateful imp of a husband if they wanted to have a honeymoon house to come back to, he laid back down, thinking he couldn’t solve anything with this splitting headache. First, he’d sleep a bit more. Then, he’d think about the consequences. Many minutes went by but he couldn’t fall asleep. Daniel was grumbling, turning, kicking him, and grinding his teeth. He decided to put in his airpods and listen to some music to drown out some of the distracting noise.

Curiosity eventually got the better of him. He started scrolling through photos and videos in the gallery. He was horrified at what he found, but at least he had his answer. Most of the story became clear, especially thanks to their drunken talks and humiliating actions in the videos.

 

Snippets of the previous night

 

Seongwoo took a shot of some strangely glowing liquid from a tall shot glass, slamming it on the table. He looked over at the person next to him after flashing a delirious smile to the camera he was holding up.

“I’m sooo not drunk. I can have ten more of these and I’m totally fine. What about you, Niel?”

“Me? I’m fucking wasted. The world is spinning and everything is hilarious.”

Daniel slid his glass of whisky on ice across the bar, then fell over on his lap, struck with a terrible fit of dorky, husky laughs. Seongwoo poked at his head, looking down and scrunching up his done.

“How can we make a fun vlog of our Vegas adventures with only me? Wake up, puppy. It’s not time to sleep.”

“Siroh. It’s freaking comfy here. I’m in heaven. Who would have thought someone skinny like you could feel so soft? Let me snuggle you a few minutes.”

“Alright but you better not fall asleep on me, you big softie. I hate the feeling of my legs going numb. You’re freaking heavy.”

“I’m just resting my eyes, hyung. I know you don’t mind it that much anyway. Since you like puppies. Which indeed I am. A Samoyed puppy who adores cuddles. Woof woof.”

Seongwoo rolled his eyes and said sarcastically to the camera, “Just resting your eyes, right. That’s what he always says. He falls asleep nine times out of ten. Well, anyway, there’s more yummy drinks for me then. Come to me, pretty baby. Cheers, bottoms up!”

He clanked another shot glass, this one with some smoking green liquid, against the phone’s surface and then tipped his head back, swallowing it in one gulp, cheering afterwards. Daniel continued to remain curled up on his lap, arms loosely snaked around his slender waist, giggling here and there with a silly, content smile.

 

 

“Ddongwu’s turn. Truth or dare?”

“Hmm. I’ll try something else this time. Dare.”

“Oh-ho~ You shouldn’t have gone with that choice, bro. Don’t you know me by now? I dare you to pull down your pants and moon the prude working at the black jack table.”

Daniel slammed his hands on the slot machine he’d been playing until he’d lost most of the twenty dollars he’d originally put in it, bolting up-right. He slightly swayed, making Seongwoo reach for his arm out of concern, chuckling faintly.

“You think I wouldn’t have the balls? I’m gonna do it.”

“Alright, I’m documenting it. Though I’m pretty sure you will chicken out. Cus you got tiny balls.”

“Tch. You are the one who is a chicken. I only eat steak. So, that makes me much braver than you who only eats chicken breast these days. Once I do it, you better prepare to nibble on this meat balls of mine.”

Daniel grabbed his chin, bringing their faces close together. Seongwoo froze, looking nervous, licking at his lip as his eyes flickered down to Daniel’s lips. The camera tilted and slightly shook. It looked like things were getting heated and charged between them. The level of chemical tension there was about to cause an explosion. Just before they were about to kiss, Daniel released him and strutted towards the black jack table.

Only Seongwoo’s voice was heard as he filmed Daniel tap the uniformed man on the shoulder, turn around and drop his pants to the knees, even bending over and slapping his plump, pale butt cheeks.

“Oh, shit. Niel, you don’t really have to—Oh my god. You psycho. You seriously did it! Shit, shit, shit. He’s pissed. Run back! I’ll protect your dumb, cute ass.”

 

 

They were apparently sitting outside the front of the casino on the curb. Daniel had his head drooped, his dusty blonde hair a total mess and his eyes out of focus. He looked drunk out of his mind. Which explained why he had listened to the mischievous elder.

“Sorry, Seongwoo. We got kicked out. I don’t think we’re ever allowed back there.”

“Yeah, I don’t think so either. It’s alright though. There’s tons of other casinos we aren’t banned from yet. You freaking pervert. Crazy dumbass. Unbelievable. Can’t believe you really did it. You DO got a decent pair of big, beefy balls like you said. Sure taught me a lesson. Haha. Could have at least got the rest of our money back before you did that.”

Daniel pouted while Seongwoo’s words were peppered with sarcasm and continuous snickering, looking at him with admiration and affection, tilted head with the razor-sharp jawline resting in his palm.

“It’s your fault. You got bored because you kept losing and so you suggested truth or dare. Because you figured I’d lose it.”

“Well, we didn’t declare a winner yet. It’s still my turn. I’ll go for truth, in case you do something out of revenge that puts us in the police station. Better safe than unable to return to our country even though we’re sorry, right?”

He chuckled some more, playfully nudging the younger with his smaller but still quite firm shoulder. Daniel mocked him and scrunched up his nose, unamused and not ready to be light-hearted.

“Truth, huh? Hmm. Need to think a moment…”

While Seongwoo waited, he took some selfies of them with the glowing casino in the background which gave off a rich 80’s vibe with the right vintage filters. They looked quite handsome and cool together, as if they were shooting a movie poster. Especially the ones where Seongwoo hung on Daniel’s shoulder and bit his lips while stroking his chin with a smoldering, naughty stare directly into the camera lens. He posted one on his Instagram, tagging Daniel’s account he’d long ago followed and commenting simply ‘hip.’

“Why are you taking forever? If you’re too drunk to think of a question even, that’s not fair. I want to be that same level. Why are you such a light-weight today? Or maybe it’s me that’s the issue. Is it because I ate too much cake? Ah, yeah, that could be it. Let’s go somewhere and get more wasted. You don’t need to drink if you don’t want to, but I’m in the mood to get fucked up. Might as well blow off some more money and steam while we can. In Vegas, we do as the Vegans do.”

“Hyung. Wait.”

The phone fell on the ground, revealing only their heads. It seemed that Daniel had grabbed Seongwoo’s arm as he stood up and yanked the younger into his lap. The camera captured Daniel leaning his head down fast. Seongwoo didn’t notice the approaching danger, rubbing his hand which he had scraped on the cement attempting to catch his fall, not thinking that he’d end up in Daniel’s lap.

The elder snapped in a whiney tone, “What the hell? Ouch! That hurt, you brute! Be gentle with me, I’ve told you that a hundred times. You’re much stronger than you think.”

To his credit, the younger seemed sincerely apologetic. “Sorry, sorry, hyung. I pulled too hard. I promise to be gentle. Let me show you I can be. I’ll make up for it. With our first kiss.”

“Kiss? Where’s that coming from? Woah, woah, stop right there, you drunkie!”

Seongwoo strained backwards while holding Daniel’s face away as he suddenly attempted to plant his puckered lips on him. Rather than looking teasing or perverted as Seongwoo expected, Daniel looked sober and serious, his eyes taking on a sweet, sincere tone over the drunken fog. He was still thinking the other was possessed by the atmosphere mixed with the liquid poison though.

“Hyung…You like me, don’t you? Just like I like you. As more than a friend. Be real for a moment. Tell me that I haven’t been imagining it all this time. You don’t have to agree to date me or anything. I just want to confirm that these feelings are mutual. Hyung, you do like me that way, don’t you?”

Seongwoo gulped, removing his hands from his cheek and mouth. They intensely stared at each other for a long, silent moment, neon lights blinking and pop music blaring in the backdrop, casting a romantic vibe around them. Hearts were racing like the cars in Fast and the Furious, Daniel’s favorite series. Then, Seongwoo grabbed the back of Daniel’s neck and lifted up until they were hovering just an inch apart, staring intensely at his mouth through hooded, sultry eyes.

“Yes, that’s the truth. I do like you, Niel-ah. As more than a friend. I’ve wanted to kiss you since the first night we met. I was always aware of the sparks buzzing between us. I didn’t act on them for my own reasons, for the most part, but I don’t think I can ignore this intense pull any longer. This is your fault for playing with fire, being ridiculously tempting and adorable that I want to eat you up.”

Following that husky, whispered confession was a clash of parted, eager lips and a long make-out session. The pair only pulled away when they were breathless and lips swollen nearly twice their normal size, their eyes hooded, hazy, desperate for more but attempting to control their libidos. Seongwoo was playing with Daniel’s dangly silver earring, biting at his smirking lip with quite an evil expression that spelled all kinds of trouble.

Good things never came from his mind when wicked troublemaker daredevil Seongwoo looked like that, anyone knew. Unfortunately, Daniel was an enabler, usually weak about going along with his crazy plans, especially if he was far gone from the influence of alcohol.

“Hey, Niel. Don’t be a coward and pick dare one more time, got it? I just thought of a really good one.”

“Sure, why not? I can’t say no to a challenge like that, obviously. You’d find some new cruel way to insult my lovely genitals.”

“You said you like me, right? I dare you to prove it. Do you like me enough to marry me?”

Daniel responded without a moment of hesitation. “Yeah, hyung. You bet I do. I actually wasn’t telling the whole truth earlier. I don’t just like you. I love you. Enough I could die for you. Marrying you is easy peasy lemon squeezy.”

They stopped jutting their noses at each other when Seongwoo made a face and flicked his forehead. “Ew. I don’t think I’ll say ‘I do’ if you’re going to talk like a ten year old nerd.”

 

 

 

“Seongwoo hyung, you like this one, right? We’ll take them. But there’s no need for a box.”

“Daniel, what are you doing? Get up!”

“If you didn’t want to have a proposal, you wouldn’t be filming it,” Daniel pointed out in a teasing manner, having dropped to his knee and taking his hand, which was at the moment the only part of him in the video.

“Well…” Seongwoo drifted off with a sheepish laugh. He brushed Daniel’s fingers, waiting for him to speak instead of denying it.

The younger looked up above the lens of the phone camera with the tender smile and sweet, warm amber eyes.

“Hyung, I’ve been crazy about you since the day I met you. It’s been hard to hide it, but I don’t want to play anymore mind games. I want to take care of you and shower you with affection for the rest of our lives as your spouse, not as just a friend. I’m not saying this because I’m drunk, I swear. Or that I want to fulfill this dare and win over you. That hardly matters. I’m dead serious right now. You make me happy. You’re super fun, charming, and gorgeous. I truly love you and I want you to become my husband. Something that we can only do here. So, will you do me the honor of fulfilling my ultimate fantasy and be my one and only man for life?”

Seongwoo’s voice came out, slightly choked up and breathless. “Yes. I will.”

Daniel took his hand and tenderly kissed it for several seconds, then slowly slipped the ring on the correct slender, alabaster finger. The phone jostled as Daniel jumped up, taking Seongwoo into his arms and spinning him around what appeared to be a jewelry store. Seongwoo was laughing and squealing, holding on for dear life.

 

 

 

“So, husband, what is it you want to do now that the dare’s been fulfilled and you’ve won not only the game but also your sexy crush in all ways?”

Daniel was in a bow tie while Seongwoo had a lacy veil atop of his head. They had their arms around each other, glowing faces split with ear-to-ear grins.

“Hmm, I think I want to take my delectable wife some place romantic and start making babies. I only got to have your delicious mouth so far but I’m dying to taste the rest of you. It’s time we retired to a hotel and got started on our wild wedding night.”

Seongwoo pulled his ear and shook his head negatively. “Nope. No to babies. I’m not ready to swell or be a mommy. We’re picking up condoms.”

“What the wife says goes. It doesn’t feel as good though. But what if I told you I already have them?”

Daniel’s thick eyebrows wiggled suggestively before he pulled a bundle of plastic out of his pocket.

Seongwoo appeared shocked, slapping his broad shoulder and then taking the object. “This naughty hubby of mine! How much of this did you plan?”

“I didn’t plan. It was just a hope. Actually, to tell you the truth…whenever we met, I had them just in case…”

“No way! You didn’t? You’ve been waiting for the chance to sneak into my pants as long as we’ve been friends? You wolf!”

Seongwoo laughed heartily, poking at Daniel’s flushed cheeks with the blue plastic squares. Daniel grinned guiltily, then shrugged.

“I figured that once you get going, you’re like the energizer bunny. It was obvious you were attracted to me and that you’re the type with an insatiable appetite. All the signs were there, subtle but still clear. Nothing wrong at our age being prepared. We’ve both been single and always free whenever one wants to meet up, don’t you think?”

Seongwoo nodded, then came in close enough to make the younger nervous, a much more wolfish, dangerous expression on his handsome face.

“Yeah, I admit that. There was a reason for that certainly. Because you’re a massive dick with legs that I’ve been wanting to bite into for forever. I’m going to ravish you with pleasure as long as I’ve been waiting to. Two probably won’t be enough for me to get full.”

“Ah, hyung, hmm…”

Daniel yipped as Seongwoo harshly bit his lip, then moaned in pleasant surprise as Seongwoo passionately dived his tongue inside. For a moment, he was distracted in making out despite they’re just in front of the chapel with some other drunken couples just married passing by and snickering about how that gay couple couldn’t keep their libidos in check in the slightest. He gave the camera a playful, naughty look before reaching out to take it away, filming their hands squeezed together with the matching rings gleaming before turning it off.

 

Back to the present

 

“Holy shit…Well, that’s certainly a lot to take in…So it was consensual and all because of a damn game…You dared him to prove his feelings by marrying you? What a desperate idiot. You really wanted him to for sure be yours that badly? Ugh, thirsty idiot…How can we have a normal relationship after this? We will have to discuss about getting divorced or not before we even have our first date. We didn’t even have a sober kiss or serious confession yet, damn. He probably won’t remember, right? He does tend to black out more than me…”

In the midst of chewing on his lip and deliberating, Daniel turned over, tossing his arm across Seongwoo’s chest and nuzzling his cheek. He smiled softly, mumbling his name.

“Seongwoo hyung…I like you so much…You’re mine now, I’m not letting you go…”

Seongwoo glanced between the sleeping cutie and his ringed finger, chewing on his lip. The heavenly feeling of being back in those strong, warm arms was distrascting.

Maybe I can keep this a secret. If he only remembers up to the confession clearly, then I can play off the marriage stuff as a joke. I just need to hide the evidence and tell him what I ‘remember’ happened. Then, we can be normal boyfriends like he thinks happened without all the drama. Later on, I can tell him about it when we are more stable. We might just laugh it off as we sign the divorce papers.

I seriously don’t want to ruin a good thing when it’s just happened. Don’t we deserve to have a few months of innocent happiness? I’m fine with living together but marriage just dooms us; it starts the timer on a bomb. I don’t want to be married, ever, to anyone. All this time, we finally confessed and went beyond friends as we’ve wanted. I’m not ready to lose our friendship by making it all kinds of angsty and complex. I’m not ready to lose the chance on their being a happy version of ‘us’.

For now, I’ll just keep the incident to myself and make the others swear to secrecy. For his sake and for our relationship. I’m sure he won’t be all that angry later on when I explain myself. He’ll understand why I felt I had to do this. Once we are stable. I won’t fib forever, just a reasonable amount temporarily.

“Sorry to lie to you, bestie. This is the first and last time, I promise. I do it because I love you and I’m afraid to mess this up. You know my take on marriage. I just got you, so there’s no way I’m going to lose you,” he whispered, kissing his forehead as he slipped the ring off of Daniel’s finger carefully.

 

6 months later

 

Seongwoo and Daniel were happily dating and living together. Their married friends were long back from their honeymoon, though they still often seemed stuck in their blissful, cheesy honeymoon phase. They still clung to each other any chance they got and always wore a stupid, smitten grin on their faces, getting lost like that moment in each other’s loving gaze.

“Okay, I’ve had enough. Break it up or go back home and actually fuck instead of all the eye fucking going on. That look could get us all pregnant, even the table.”

Seongwoo joked, reaching across the table and forcing the married couple apart with his hands on their foreheads. They laughed and flushed, casting sheepish, naughty looks at each other though they obediently scooted to opposite ends of the booth.

“That’s better. Agreed that it’s too much. Or maybe that’s just my jealousy talking. Since my boyfriend only gets like this when he’s drunk. Then he’s super clingy and his eyes set fire to my clothes. They just magically seem to fly off and I can’t even find them in the morning.”

Daniel snuck his hand around Seongwoo’s waist, pulling him over to his side so that there wasn’t an inch of space between them when he went to sit back down. Just the way the naughty couple liked it. Seongwoo flushed but allowed a moment of wonderful intimacy, snuggling subtly into the other’s solid, cozy chest. He poked his firm peck and smiled shyly up at him. Daniel’s almond, golden flecked eyes were as always on him, overwhelming with their honest affection and clear bliss to have him by his side, his grin wide and sweet.

“First I know that you have a problem with my duality. I thought it’s charming and irresistible.”

“Oh, it is. What part of you isn’t though?” The younger leaned in to whisper, slyly brushing his soft lips against the rim of his ear. “Especially how you get shy after being a wild perv.”

Seongwoo stifled a laugh and nudged him, scolding lightly, “Shh, stop that. Not the place.”

“As if you aren’t the kinkiest minx ever, tch.”

“By the way, Seongwoo. Whatever happened to that Vlog you were making of our Vegas trip?”

“Oh, that. Er, it’s still in editing. I haven’t found the time. Swamped with work, chores, and dates with my puppy-like boyfriend.”

“You didn’t finish that yet? You told me that you were working on it and didn’t need my help. Is it too much? Where are you stuck? Let me help you. We can get it done in a couple of days if we do it together.”

Now Seongwoo was on the verge of hyperventilating, kicking Minhyun for mentioning it under the table and sending him nasty glares which hopefully Daniel wouldn’t see. Minhyun was smirking while Jaehwan was curiously glancing between them, munching on a bag of mini cookies as if they were popcorn. They clearly had made up a plan before meeting them to stir up trouble.

Seongwoo recalled that he had once promised that nosy, almighty goody two-shoes Minhyun that if things were still going well between them after six months that he would confess about what had happened. He’d managed to keep it a complete secret as Daniel didn’t remember anything after their confession. As if the kisses they’d shared then had magically wiped his memory of the rest of the night. To his fortune.

He’d managed to toss the veil and tuxedo tie out the hotel window before he’d woken up. The rings he kept in a box in the back of their messy, fully stuffed bedside table drawer. He’d also somehow managed to continuously deflect from any of their friend’s strange, leading comments. Daniel likely knew that some other things had happened that night that Seongwoo wasn’t fully being honest about, but he seemed to assume that it was something embarrassing he didn’t want to share.

“It’s fine. I’ve just got a couple of scenes to add towards the end.”

“Hmm, like what? Did you take some clips?”

“No, not that many.”

“What are you saying? We took a lot. I recall you had a camera on us most of the night, talking to yourself and bothering me. Oh, they don’t know about the funniest part, right? Well, we have to blur out my ass because your family will probably want to see it.”

“No way. What crazy shit were you guys up to where we couldn’t see?”

“A lot apparently.” Daniel laughed. “You guys might not know it, but Seongwoo is a wild cat. Once alcohol gets in his system, he’s a total nutjob. But in a fun way.”

“Oh, I know just how ‘fun’ he can be. More than you know.”

“Shut up right now, Min,” Seongwoo hissed, kicking the smirking man again.

Daniel raised his eyebrow, head tilting much like a puppy would. “Hmm? What do you mean by that? Have you guys fooled around when drunk or something?”

“Hell no!”

“Oh, god, no!”

They both vehemently denied it. When Seongwoo was vulnerable in his rush to explain in case Daniel became jealous and suspected their friendship which had always been completely platonic, Minhyun sneakily snatched his phone form the table. Before he knew it, they were playing the clip of them inside the casino, all laughing hard except for Seongwoo. He had his hands balled under the table, overcome with nerves. Daniel had his hand absently resting on his spine, brushing lightly with his thumb.

“This is the middle of it. You should see from the beginning to catch the whole story. This dude just wouldn’t stop drinking. Like an elephant, I tell you. He drank more than I usually do.”

Seongwoo let out a nervous laugh, fingers twitching to take his phone back. “Daniel, they don’t need to see everything. We will ruin the surprise then. After we edit it, they’ll see everything.”

“Eh, what’s the harm, baby? It’s raining outside and we’ve got nothing better to do. Besides, they’re not going to be able to see everything because we will have to edit the really embarrassing bits. Right? Might as well just enjoy all the clips and have a good laugh. Are you feeling shy? Is that it?”

Daniel leaned in to kiss his cheek and nuzzle his ear.

“Sort of…” the elder mumbled, breaking out in a cold sweat.

This is not just a shit storm coming; this is a shit fiasco. I can’t find a way out of it. I’ve got to stop them from seeing beyond the confession video. It’s about five videos in if I recall correctly. As soon as it comes, I’ll snatch the phone and then say I’ve got to urgently go to the bathroom. That way I’ll be safe and not so suspicious. I should have deleted it, dammit. Me and my sentimental self. This is NOT how I want Daniel to find out about it. I’m not ready to face this. Things are going well but because of just how well they are going I’m even more reluctant to toss us into turmoil.

Seongwoo failed to forsee that Jaehwan and Minhyun had thought this far ahead in their scheme. Possibly they had mind reading powers. He’d vastly underestimated them. Just when the clip played, Minhyun sat on his lap and held his arms captive as he struggled. Daniel watched with furrowed brows, none of them laughing any longer. Seongwoo hid his face in Minhyun’s chest, afraid to see Daniel’s reaction. The other two were half smiling, half judging the younger silently watching the videos

“Seongwoo. What’s the meaning of this?”

Minhyun slipped away, letting go of Seongwoo who went as still as stone. His head drooped, gaping at his hands as he fidgeted. Daniel shook the phone under his nose, repeating his question in a sharper, more demanding tone, making the elder wince and tense. All in their group were strangely silent for a couple of minutes. Seongwoo shakily took the phone and confessed in a dead-pan tone without looking at the other staring him down intensely.

“Truthfully…we were too far gone and made a mistake that night. I didn’t believe it until I found these videos. I decided it was better not to tell you since we just got together. I didn’t want to affect our friendship. I wanted to wait for a better time when we were stable.”

“If it were something small you were keeping from me, I could forgive you, hyung. But this is huge. We’ve been married for six whole months and you lied about it? You claim to like me, yet you can’t even trust me and hide important things about us. That we should deal with together. Am I that unreliable? Did you think I was going to dump you?”

“No, it’s not that. I’m sorry. It’s just…we were totally new and it took a long time for us to get there. I was happy to be finally dating you, but we were obviously unsteady. I didn’t want to ruin our relationship with complications and pressures like getting a divorce. I swear, I was just looking out for us, making what I thought was the best decision. It was temporary. I was planning to tell you soon…”

“Well, soon passed many times, though ‘soon’ isn’t good enough! Honestly, I’m pissed off at you right now. Not because of the dare. But because you thought it’s better to hide this from me. Because we built our relationship based off of a lie. Obviously, you didn’t trust me.”

“No, Daniel. It’s not a lie. Married or not doesn’t affect our feelings. I didn’t lie about anything else, I swear. I love you so much. I didn’t want to hurt you or lose you.”

“Hyung…” Daniel softened as Seongwoo became hysterical and clung to his hands. He brushed his cheek with a tender expression. “Calm down. I must have scared you because I raised my voice, sorry. Just because I’m angry doesn’t automatically mean I’m leaving you. Couples make mistakes and have spats. Fighting here and there is normal. Sometimes we need the time to sort through our chaotic emotions. Me feeling angry or needing some space from you doesn’t mean the end of the world like with your family. I know you’re traumatized from that and think all marriages will end in an ugly divorce, but that’s not the case necessarily. Especially if you’ve been friends for a long time first.”

Seongwoo sniffled, his tears falling from his nose onto their linked hands. Daniel watched him while brushing his cheek and rubbing his hand. He wasn’t smiling but at least he didn’t look as betrayed and furious as before.

“Now you’re crying…What are you thinking, hyung? I’m sorry that I got angry. Though I’m justified because lying is wrong. No matter the reason. It hurts and shakes up our trust. This situation is your fault but I’m willing to work through it, rebuild the trust and heal the pain, because I care about you. Stop overthinking and talk to me, hyung. We can’t work anything out if you stay clammed up. I will listen, I’m calmer now.”

“I’m scared… Going through a divorce will change us. What we have so far is just perfect. I’ve never been as happy with anyone as I am with you, Daniel. It’s been so long since I could convince myself to be serious with someone, to give romance a chance. I don’t want things to change. I don’t want things to start going downhill.”

“Hyung, who says we have to go through a divorce? We love each other, don’t we? We’re happier since we got together, aren’t we? We’re living together some time now and our feelings haven’t been fading. This is our first ever disagreement even. I don’t think you’ve done anything serious enough to require a divorce.”

The elder sniffled, keeping his head bowed. “But…we can’t stay married. It’s a big decision that we aren’t ready for and it was a mistake that needs correcting. We have no other choice and it’s likely to scar us…”

“Well, I don’t see it that way honestly. Who says we aren’t ready for it? Who says we won’t get closer and live even happier than we have been? Who says that we won’t be the happiest married couple who ever lived?”

“I say so. Because of statistics. Marriage is like a ticking time bomb. As soon as the shackles come onto a relationship, then the people involved feel trapped and start to see only negative things about each other. They don’t appreciate. They don’t love as much. They take for granted. They turn bored, selfish, lazy. They look for others to fill up the emptiness. Eventually, they’re doomed to fall apart. The divorce rate of younger couples is especially high…”

“Aigoo, what to do with this negative nelly? Hmm? Always only seeing the glass as half empty. There’s also many people who get married for love and they stay in love in despite of all the ups and downs in their relationship for decades. You are just choosing not to look at those because you’re prejudiced from what happened to your family.”

Seongwoo couldn’t deny that. It was difficult to change his opinion though since he’d been against the idea of marriage and hardly believed in ever-lasting love with one person since the day his parents told their little boy they were going to separate and live separately, forcing him to choose who he would live with.

“Hyung, come here. I understand, you know. I understand everything. I’m not going to fight you about it. You have a point and a right to your own opinion and worries. I’ll forgive you for lying as long as you promise not to do it again. We’re in a serious relationship, so it means that we share all burdens and worries. We must admit to our mistakes even if that might cause us some trouble. As a couple, we’ll face things together. Good times and bad times.”

Seongwoo fell gratefully into Daniel’s comforting embrace, attempting to hold back his embarrassing sniffles. Those pesky rascals Minhyun and Jaehwan had excused themselves during their serious talk, letting the couple be alone to work out their issues. Now that their wicked mission had been done. Seongwoo glared at their empty booth, half a mind to kick their balls blue for interfering and dumping this issue on them without caring for their feelings. Luckily, Daniel was even-tempered with a heart of pure gold. His anger hadn’t lasted more than a few minutes and he wasn’t pushing him away. He was trying to understand and be there for him, making extra effort to maintain their unbalanced relationship.

“Sorry, Daniel. You’re right. I will tell you everything in the future. I’m really sorry for keeping it from you this long. I promise that it wasn’t going to be forever. I just hated the idea of losing what we had, so I was holding off…What we have makes me so happy, I was scared to break it…”

“Nonsense. You’re not going to lose or break anything, hyung. Especially not me or us. What an asshole I’d be if I left you because of something like this. The more I think of it, the more I actually like the idea. At least I won’t have to go through an embarrassing proposal or an expensive, hassle of a wedding, you know. No stuffy, hot tuxedo either.”

“If it lasts, you mean. Daniel, I don’t think it’s good for us to stay married though. Your feelings will change for me now, I’m sure…”

“Hyung, you can’t know that possibly. Only I know my feelings and my heart fully. They haven’t budged an inch since I first saw you. I’m still totally bonkers about you; I love everything you say or do to pieces. Seriously. I don’t want to pressure you to stay married if you really feel that it’s a bad idea. But I also don’t want you to rush your choice when it could be that you’re worried about nothing. Might I suggest something?”

“Hmm, sure,” Seongwoo murmured with a nod against his shoulder, squeezing his folds of his jacket which was keeping him grounded and calm barely.

“Why don’t we have a trial marriage to battle your paranoia and test your theory? We can just go on like we have been but keeping in mind that we are married now. We’ll wear the rings and we’ll call each other ‘hubby’ and we’ll do more domestic things together. I don’t think it will be any different than how we’re going on now but that will probably make you see things differently. That one label doesn’t necessarily change our feelings. Say we try another six months about?”

“So, we would have been married for a year then. Hmm. Yeah, I suppose that’s not a bad idea. That’s a long time for a serious relationship. If our feelings didn’t change by then, maybe…”

“Yeah, maybe we could just stay married. Let’s just try it out and then after we’ve been together a year let’s have an honest talk about it. Judge our feelings, see if anything has changed that it seems isn’t fixable. If you’re still feeling commitment phobic, alright then. We’ll get the divorce and I’ll leave it completely up to you. Whether you want to keep living with me and being my boyfriend. No pressure whatsoever. How’s that sound?”

“Hmm…It sounds alright. The idea of it being a trial makes me think like we’re boyfriends playing house. Or like scientists testing out a hypothesis. It doesn’t seem as daunting now the pressure is off. I think I might be able to try that…”

“That settles it. From today we are in the middle of a casual experiment. We’re scientists playing house to test out your theory that a label changes feelings. I’ll try my best to take extra good care of you, wifey.”

Seongwoo giggled and flushed in despite of his initial take on this dreaded idea. Being called that somehow made his heart skip, a bit of excitement washing away his apprehension and nerves.

“I will try my best as well. I’ll try to be a good wife so that you won’t wish to leave me. I love you, hubby…”

Daniel pecked his temple, squeezing him closer. “And I love you. So very much. I’m glad you finally came clean.”

“Me too. I’m almost no longer angry at Minhyun for ratting me out. Because things turned out alright in the end. We needed this.”

The younger chuckled at the elder’s tone changing to a menacing snarl. “Almost? I suppose he’s going to have to watch his back.”

“You bet. First thing I’m going to do is scrub his toilet with his toothbrush the next time I visit.”

“Dang, you’re such a hottie when you turn evil. Shall we go home?”

Seongwoo pouted as he looked at his half-finished caramel macchiato. It was a waste of money to leave without finishing it.

“So soon?”

“Yeah, soon. I’m in a hurry to repeat our wedding night. It’s unfair that you seem to remember it, but I don’t. Also, I think you have some making up to do for your secret-keeping.”

“Oh.” Seongwoo heated, shyly burrowing into his collar. “Actually, I don’t remember that bit all that well either.”

“Wah, what a shame. Our most romantic first time that so happens to be our wedding night and neither of us remembers it because we were completely trashed. This needs to be remedied immediately. Let’s go home, baby.”

Daniel glanced at where Seognwoo’s eyes were wavering as he hesitated. Then he flashed him a look with a raised brow.

“Are you seriously going to choose coffee over me?”

Seongwoo smiled brilliantly, rubbing his arms. “Of course, I’ll choose you, pabo. No need to doubt. Let’s go then.”

“Yeah, we better. Before you change your mind. Damn cute coffee addict.”

They both faintly laughed as Daniel pecked his cheek before dragging him away from the table, refusing to let him glance at the coffee cup in case he wavered.

 

 

One month later

 

Seongwoo wasn’t in the best of moods and he was taking out on everything in the house, especially Daniel. The reason wasn’t anything that the younger had done wrong. It was sheerly a series of unfortunate events happening within the same day.

First, he’d had a rough night dealing with some ridiculously picky customer’s requests, having to do a lot of extra fixing to the photos that were already beautiful as they were from basic photo shopping. He hadn’t slept until around 5 in the morning, then they were rudely woken up at 8 because of some construction. He’d startled the coworkers and turned them flushed with his colorful cursing out the window several stories up. Although they apologized that there’d been no warning ahead of time from their landlords, they didn’t stop working, forcing the sleepyheads to give up on sleeping in which they usually greatly looked forward to on Saturday.

On top of that, they were out of groceries to eat a decent meal and there was a mountain of backed up chores they needed to do before they could think about going out to have fun with their friends as they planned that evening. To make matters worse, the clumsy diva jammed his finger in the door, hit his head on a cupboard, and dropped the vacuum on his foot. While doing their last chore, hanging up the laundry from the strings running across the balcony, the elder was grumpy and bruised all over.

“Ugh. My rotten luck. Can it get any worse? Wait, don’t curse me universe! Damn, I had to say that…”

Daniel observed his upset husband over the t-shirt he was pinning to the lines. Seongwoo had been shaking out some socks when the wind caught one and blew it from his hand into his face. Right when he made that ‘can it get any worse’ statement, the universe took him up on the challenge and proved him wrong. A bird flew by, startling them and dropping a splatter of poop directly on his sandal. Daniel laughed around the clothespin he was biting on, his hands busy shaking out their bedsheet. It was such a comical, ironic scene that could only happen to Seongwoo, the King of Misfortune. This morning was so hilarious that it could be a corner in Gag Concert.

Seongwoo grimaced with disgust, then stared at it with a pout, sighing heavily. He seemed so down that although Daniel was tempted to continue teasing him as he had through most of the day, he decided against it. The ‘husbandly’ thing to do was to bring that stunning smile back to his ‘wifey’s’ handsome face instead of that sulky pout-frown. He forced himself to stop laughing which was no easy feat, then he snuck up behind the unsuspecting man.

“Yah! What the hell are you doing? Yah, this Kang Choding! Would you stop?! It’s wet! I don’t need a hug or cold shower right now, I need a relaxing bath and sleep!”

Seongwoo complained with a sharp bite to his tone as Daniel enclosed him in his embrace, sheet wrapping around and making a cocoon.

“This is good for you. With my magical hugs, you will feel better and stop being grumpy. Think of all the good things. At least we are alive, we’re together, it’s a day off and it’s also sunny. We’re about done with our chores, so why don’t we go out to your favorite café? Get a tart and sweet drinks. Even better, how about that dessert café you wanted to try out? The one with all the puppy decorations. Totally my treat. I’ll even act like a puppy for you and you can take all the photos you want, hmm? I won’t refuse or  calorie count. Just turn that frown upside down, baby. Life is beautiful, especially more so with that award-winning smile of yours. Hmm?”

After some more struggling and whining, Seongwoo eventually gave in to the stubborn younger, sinking back into his chest like the clingy, snuggle-loving baby he actually was. He allowed Daniel to kiss and nuzzle his cheeks, a small smile coming to his more peaceful, content face. The hugs were working wonders, but the positive vibes and the promises were the things that really did the trick.

“Yeah, that sounds good. Let’s go soon. I think I really need to get out of the house to change up my mood. I’m sorry for being so irritable.”

Daniel rubbed his arms for extra comfort. “Eh, of course anyone would be. You barely got any sleep and bad things keep happening. On top of that being your blessed day off. I don’t blame you at all.”

“Well, you didn’t sleep much either, you have to deal with my griping and nastiness, plus do chores on your day off. Yet you’re not like that.”

“Ah, that’s because I have a bottomless vat of positive vibes. I’ll shower you with the extras since I’ve got plenty to spare. Oh, complimenting works as good as hugs and kisses, that’s right. Did I tell you today how gorgeous you are? You’re the most beautiful, shimmering star in the universe. I need no other light because you make my entire day bright. Better?”

Seongwoo softly giggled, nodded with a broad smile, then turned his head to sweetly kiss along the blonde’s curvy jawline. “I’m getting there. Thanks to you. Cheesy hubby.”

Daniel shyly laughed, pressing their faces together and squeezing the other close until he whined that he was getting crushed like a Pepsi cola can. “Glad I could help, prickly baby.”

 

 

 

Over the next several months, the couple had a slight change in their relationship through reading marriage advice books and watching married life reality shows, attempting to be more ‘husbandly’ in the way they treated each other. Daniel especially went out of his way to be the perfect devoted, doted, caring, affectionate, romantic husband in order to show Seongwoo that he’d be a decent partner for life and that not all marriages ended up in an ugly divorce as long as they paid attention and put in efforts, being considerate and never selfish.

They admittedly did have some slight tiffs while living together and Daniel having to work late nights and weekends here and there because of the season which was the nature of his work. However, Seongwoo at those times would either look up how to handle his feelings and the situation or ask Minhyun the best way to make up, especially since it was usually his fault. Daniel wasn’t the sort to get jealous or sulky or lonely like he found that he was. Daniel appreciated and praised him for his efforts, making their make-up sessions the sweetest moments they’d ever had.

Somehow Seongwoo felt that he’d been scared of nothing. Maybe it wasn’t that way with all couples, but he was lucky to have a good person like Daniel and that their personalities matched well. Whenever they made up after a small tiff or misunderstanding, his feelings felt stronger and they returned to several days of something like a ‘honeymoon phase’ where everything was a perfect dream between them, full of clinginess, making love several times a day, texting each other all throughout the day during their breaks, being cheesier than usual. It almost made the fight worth it.

Seongwoo was in the living room, watching a reality program. Daniel usually watched it with him while they ate dinner, then helped him with the dishes after it was over. Today, however, he’d come fallen asleep in the middle of it. He’d had to work overtime several days in a row, only getting five or six hours of sleep per day. Seongwoo understood and felt pitiful for him, which is why he didn’t move his position though his legs had long gone numb.

Daniel was laying on his side, curled in the elder’s lap and hugging his waist, still in his work clothes except for his bare feet propped up on the arm of the sofa because his legs were too long even slightly folded up as they were. Seongwoo smiled fondly as he gazed down at his angelic, pretty face, brushing his long, wavy bangs.

“Such a cutie. Hardly act your age or as manly as you look. How could I possibly have resisted from falling for you or taking advantage of our inebriated state? Though I can’t be sure it will last forever, I’m truly grateful every day that this endearing hunk is mine.”

*Hmm-muah*

The napping blonde stirred, caterpillar, dark golden brows furrowing from Seongwoo’s lips pressing to his forehead. The brunette froze, afraid that any subtle movement might disturb his well-deserved rest. Waking him up was the last thing he’d been planning to do. He simply couldn’t hold back his feelings for a moment there.

After a couple minutes, the most kissable puppy man in the universe laid still and seemingly fast asleep, his face returning to a peaceful, angelic state. Seongwoo felt it was safe to move again, at least his upper half very slowly and subtly. He grabbed his phone from the small table next to the sofa since he’d noticed that it had flashed a couple of times, suggesting he’d gotten a new message.

 

Minhyun: So, how’s the married life going? Has Daniel turned overnight into a terrible husband? Are you ready to kick him out and demand a divorce?

Seongwoo: Nope. He’s so ridiculously fucking perfect that it’s unfair. I’m lucky he hasn’t done that to me since I’m stinky pickles in comparison.

Minhyun: Sounds like you’re quite happy. What did I tell you? I knew you were overthinking things and going to enjoy married life.

Seongwoo: Shut it. Stop teasing me.

Minhyun: Not until you admit that you were wrong.

Seongwoo: I’m NOT wrong. About others…But maybe I was wrong about us though. Our case seems to be special. I can admit that. Marriage life…it’s got its moments.

Minhyun: So, I’ll take that as everything is going well with your ‘experiment’ and you’re not thinking about divorcing once the six months trial is up.

Seongwoo: I suppose at the moment that it’s far from my mind. It takes some work but it seems that when you put in efforts and you’re with someone as sweet and caring as Daniel, then it’s not a definite dooms day for your relationship. Getting through struggles together, that seems unexpectedly to bring us closer rather than tear us apart.

Minhyun: That’s great to hear. So, anything that I can advise you about? Though the one that starts the fights in our relationship is Jaehwan, I’ve become a master at getting us out of the rut.

Seongwoo: Hmm. I don’t think so today. Thank you, by the way. For all your help. In case I haven’t said that yet.

Minhyun: Wow. It’s a miracle. You’re thanking me, with words I can actually see. Seongwoo the arrogant know it all who sucks at expressing himself. Are you sick? Shall I send over a nurse? Ah, maybe you’re drunk…

Seongwoo: Haha. You make me sound terrible!

Minhyun: You are! Daniel is too good for you. Sorry that I can’t help but be totally honest but sometimes you’re super moody and unreasonable that I wonder how he can put up with you. You always say the opposite of what you mean and play mind games. I certainly would have kicked you until you were as purple and swollen as Barney by now.

Seongwoo: I’d like to argue that because my pride is wounded but yeah, you’re right. He could do better than me, but he loves me enough to stick with my bratty, commitment phobic, arrogant, difficult, moody, lazy, stubborn self. I wonder what he sees in me that makes him go through all this. Could it just be my face? Or my body?

Minhyun: Eh, it’s obviously not just that. He loves you for all those flaws, that’s what it is. Instead of wanting to change those characteristics, he finds them cute. Like how I feel towards Jaehwan who is not much better than you are. How are you feeling about your relationship these days? Be totally honest.

Seongwoo: Hmm. Good, I guess. I’m happy more than not. At the moment, it’s quite blissful. These domestic, peaceful moments after we’ve weathered through the storms of misunderstandings, irritable moods, or poor communication. It makes me think things. Like that I wouldn’t mind staying married if there were more days like this guaranteed. Like that sometimes the difficulties are even worth it because with him, moments like these follow. I just adore these moments. I feel overwhelmed sometimes with how much I love is swelling up inside, ready to burst.

Minhyun: Exactly what I’ve been trying to tell you all along. That it’s not so bad and as long as you’re both a good fit, then putting in a bit of effort when things get rough makes your relationship even better than dating. You feel closer, right?

Seongwoo: I think so, yeah. I start feeling like…I can’t imagine my life without him in it anymore. And that I love him more and more every day. I’m more comfortable expressing it too. It’s different than the honeymoon stage. I feel so secure and at ease and truly, deeply adored. You know, when you’re in a normal relationship, every time you have an argument or are separated, there’s this looming feeling that a break-up could happen any moment? Like you really want to trust them but there’s always some monster looming around, making you uneasy?

Minhyun: Sure, I know what you mean, I think. You never know how the future might get in the way.

Seongwoo: I don’t feel that way since we started this marriage trial. Even if we fight. Even if he doesn’t answer his messages and claims he has to work late, I don’t feel uneasy or doubtful. I am able to trust him completely. I think that’s because I know that we are legally tied. Whenever I see the rings. We made a promise to stay together through thick and thin. And we sealed that promise; as long as the rings are on, it’s proof we remember it and plan to keep it. I feel more comfortable now telling him that I have an issue and I know that we’re going to make up eventually. Because we love each other deeply.

Minhyun: That’s definitely a benefit of marriage. Before you thought wedding rings were like burdensome shackles. You didn’t understand why anyone would be happy to wear one. But what I think of it as is it’s more like a long, flexible band that binds your wrists together. You’re free to do what you wish with your own life, but you will always be connected. No matter how far you stretch away from each other, you will be bonded and rebound, coming back together often. There’s more stability and security there. That’s why you feel closer and trust more. You don’t feel like you’re always at risk of losing them or someone can come between you because you’re strongly bonded compared to when you’re only dating.

Seongwoo: Huh. Is that so? A band that binds us together but is not a heavy burden or fully restricting our movements. That’s an interesting, positive way to think. Like how we know we will see each other at night and he’s always in the back of mind somehow, in a pleasant way. That makes sense. Thank you for giving me that image. An elastic band is better than metal shackles by far. It’s helping.

Minhyun: You’re welcome. I’m glad to see that your stance on marriage is gradually changing. You’re not such a negative nelly these days. You’re changed, all grown up and positive. He’s seriously the best thing that ever happened to you. I’m going to kimchi slap you if you let him go.

Seongwoo: Don’t quote Daniel on me! That nickname is so childish and annoying.

Minhyun: Ah, is this one of those things? It’s only okay if he says it but not others? Whoever thought my commitment phobic friend would become this epic level of whipped.

Seongwoo: Can it. You’re way worse. Don’t start a war you can’t win. I’ve got folders full of evidence.

Minhyun: I admit that haha. This is your future though you’re seeing ahead of time. The longer you’re married, somehow, the worse the level of being whipped seems to get. At least the first year or so.

Seongwoo: I’m not going to be as bad as you, no way. You baby him completely, doing everything that he could do for himself. Even cleaning his ears and doing all the chores. Such a doting wife. I would never.

Minhyun: That’s just because I’m nicer and Jaehwan happens to need a lot more babying than your puppy does. It seems that for all of his life he’s only had people telling him what he needed to do, picking up after him and stuff, allowing him to stay a helpless child. So, he’s fallen into bad habits and can’t do it himself. He’s actually a spoiled ten-year-old inside, I think haha. I need to raise him into adulthood. Until then, I’ve got to take on most of the responsibilities. You know I don’t mind though. I’ve always liked doing chores. It’s a stress relief and brightens my mood.

Seongwoo: Thankfully, Daniel isn’t that bad. You know we actually argue about who is going to do the chores almost daily. By the time I tell him that I’m going to do it, he’s already doing it, saying that he just feels like it and I should go rest and he’ll let me do it next time. Even though he works more than me and just got home. Isn’t he a sweetheart?

Minhyun: Yeah, yeah. Rub it in much, buttmunch. Even though your hubby is indeed nearly perfect, you won’t succeed in making me jealous with all your bragging. Because I’m fully satisfied with my life and I like Jaenie just the way he is. I’m fine if he never changes really. I fell for that purity anyway.

Seongwoo: Aww, so sweet. Look at this grouchy, stuck-up fox’s fur turned into a puffball of cotton candy. You became such a gentle, understanding, tolerant softie because of him. I remember how you said you hated messy people who couldn’t take care of themselves the most, insisting that you couldn’t possibly date someone like that because you’d likely end up a murderer. What happened to you?

Minhyun: Haha, you’re right about that. I did think like that before. I guess love happened. It changed me. Like it’s changing you. The both of us, for the better.

Seongwoo: Hmm. Love, you say. I guess it really is that powerful. To make me want to stay married even…

Minhyun: XD

Seongwoo: Don’t smile like that. It’s creepy.

Minhyun: I just had a fanboy freakout moment to read that. I’m ecstatic for Daniel. When are you going to tell him the good news? Make sure you’re not on the rooftop because he might just bounce off the edge in his excitement. He’s going to be literally over the roof then. And you’ll be a widow.

Seongwoo: I don’t know. It might be a fleeting feeling. I should wait, I think. Until the full six months is up. See if my feelings reverse or something miserable happens.

Minhyun: Ah, you’re so mean. You’re sure of your decision, yet you’re going to make him wait even more? You’re even waiting for something bad, even probably hoping for it secretly. That poor tortured puppy. What did he ever do to deserve that? All he ever did was love someone heartless unconditionally.

Seongwoo: Hey, he’s not tortured or unloved! I keep him happy and care for him a lot in my own ways. He’s far from being unhappy. He’s probably happier and more satisfied than Jaehwan is. I’m a good husband! I keep my unreasonable negative thoughts mostly to myself and I don’t act like a spoiled, unhelpful brat.

Minhyun: Ha. Really? I’m curious to see how you’ve improved from the last time I had to help you through some dumb, petty argument you started.

Seongwoo: Joke’s on you. I’ve come prepared with photo evidence this time! Case in point, evidence how Seongwoo is the world’s best wifey #1: I am letting him use my lap as a pillow…

 

 

A couple of months later

 

 

“Is something wrong with your pasta? It’s too bland, isn’t it?”

Seongwoo stopped Daniel from pouring more salt onto his plate of creamy noodles, gently pushing his hand back down and smiling.

“It’s not at all. It’s good as always. I’m just nervous, so my appetite’s dropped a little…”

“Nervous? Why would you be nervous around me? Oh, did you plan some event too? How unlike you.”

Seongwoo merely mysterious smiled, avoiding answering that by picking up the flowers that Daniel had bought for him. It was their one-year anniversary. They’d simply decided the day they hooked up would be considered the first day they dated, since they both knew of each other’s feelings and accepted them anyway. Just forget about the being insanely drunk, unable to fully remember it bit.

Daniel had surprised him at the studio, interrupting his work with flowers and some designer clothes as a gift, insisting they needed to go out right away for dinner at his favorite Italian restaurant. He’d even kissed and hugged him right in front of all the commuters on the street.

It was exactly the sort of event that Seongwoo preferred—simple, romantic, and sincere. However, he’d felt like planning something larger scale for Daniel who liked surprises but didn’t expect him to do anything romantic or flashy. Since he just wasn’t that sort of person. Expressing his feelings even with words was extremely difficult if he was fully sober.

Seongwoo wanted to prove him wrong; that he was a changed person thanks to love. That because he loved Daniel immensely, he could even do something embarrassingly cheesy like this now that no-one would expect him to attempt. Then, he was going to double whammy him with happiness when he confessed the conclusion that he’d come to. He’d promised, after all, to have a talk with him about how they should proceed on with their marriage. It didn’t have to be on this special day but since it was going to be good news instead of bad, Seongwoo had decided sooner was better than later.

Seongwoo smirked and raised his hand high in the air. Daniel tilted his head, one eyebrow raised curiously. He figured that his mischievous, secretive husband was up to something but couldn’t figure out exactly what it would be. Not that he had any intention of stopping him or any need to prepare himself.

One thing that they liked about each other was that they were both unpredictable, rebellious, and spontaneous. They didn’t take themselves or life too seriously and they were rather reckless. Seongwoo more so if you compared all the random incidents. He tended to instigate things more back when they were just flirty friends though he’d toned it down in the midst of attempting to be a good husband. Daniel preferred the less mature, safe, calm version of him though, so he was rather looking forward to seeing what scheme he had up his rolled sleeves.

With an elegant snap, a waiter came over. On the tray was a microphone instead of food. He took the mic and then stood up, hitting it to make sure it worked before turning his focus to Daniel. As he started speaking, all heads in the restaurant turned their way. Daniel already felt embarrassed being the center of attention, hiding his nervous smile under his hands.

“First of all, happy anniversary. Second of all, I love you. Thirdly, if you want to get out of this restaurant you have a mission. I’m going to give you five minutes of compliments. You simply have to sit there and listen to it. Just take it in, no matter how cheesy. Can you handle it?”

“Ah, I can’t do it. Spare me. Anything but that,” Daniel whined, ear tips already feeling hot at the notion.

One thing he was extremely weak to was taking compliments. Which he’d thought was fine around Seongwoo. Because Seongwoo didn’t like dishing or receiving compliments much either, especially any sort of cheesy, romantic line you might see in a romance movie. They both nearly died from cringe attacks when watching those parts in movies, even if it was expected or they already knew that part was coming. It was certainly something that he hadn’t expected from his cool lover.

“Hmm. If you can’t, then I guess we will have to get a divorce.”

“Yah! That’s too much of a punishment. Don’t joke like that.” Daniel pouted, flashing sad puppy eyes.

Seongwoo smirked playfully, swiveling the mic around with his arms crossed, looking like a chic model on the cover of a fashion magazine. “It’s simple. Just survive five minutes, then our marriage survives. Then I’m all yours for the rest of forever. Hmm? Still can’t do it?”

“Ugh…What’s with this ultimatum…” The distressed younger ruffled his loose, shaggy blonde hair, then gripped the edges of the chair and sat back with his back straightened. “Fine. I’ve got to pull through somehow. Considering the reward. No matter the cruel, freaking evil mission. Only five minutes and not a second more, Seongwoo-yah. You better time it.”

Seongwoo shrugged with a cheeky, smug grin. He was enjoying the idea of torturing him obviously. Much too much. Oh, the humiliating, horrendous things that we do for the ones we love.

“The waiter will ring the bell when the time’s up. No worries. Just hear that bell and it’s a set deal. Things will stay the same as they have been. Are you going to do it or do I need to look into divorce?”

Daniel grit his teeth and nodded for him to start. He put on a poker face and stared at the wall, attempting to keep as calm and indifferent as he could. He wished that he didn’t understand Korean at the moment or had some magical ability to block out sounds because it was sheer torture. He could hardly believe this was happening. To think Seongwoo would give him such a difficult mission such as this of all people. He wondered how he was able to say any of those terribly greasy lines without cracking once; as if he didn’t know who was standing in front of him anymore.

“Your smile puts the sun out of business.”

“If I had a star for every time you brightened my day, I would be holding a galaxy.”

“Even if there wasn’t gravity on Earth, I would still fall for you.”

“Are you a camera? Because every time I look at you, I smile.”

“You must be a broom, because you swept me right off  my feet.”

“Well, here I am. What are your other two wishes?”

“I’d like to breathe, so I’d appreciate you stop taking it away when you walk by.”

“I wanted to take a picture of some flowers but I couldn’t find one more beautiful than you.”

“If God made anything more perfect than you, he must have kept it to himself.”

“Kang Daniel, please stay still. So that the arrow of my love will not escape.”

At the last one, Daniel couldn’t take it. Just before the bell rang, he had his strawberry colored face covered and was giggling as he slowly slid down the chair. He ended up ducking under the table, completely disappearing. Seongwoo brightly laughed and peeked under the lacy table cloth as the bell sounded. Daniel had rolled up into a ball that was strangely small considering his massive size and impressive height. He refused to let the other see his face.

“You survived, congratulations. Good job, honey. It’s all over. Won’t you come out now? So we can celebrate passing the trial. Hmm? Daniel? You’re dying of embarrassment, aren’t you? Am I going to become a widow after just a year?” he teased, poking at his side.

“I’m alive, just barely. I need to stay under hear for awhile though. My face is so red right now. Ugh. It’s so embarrassing.”

“So, you just need some time to cool off? Alright, I’ll allow that. The mission was quite a challenge. I’ll order you some ice cream. That should help.”

“Thanks…”

 

 

 

“So, what made you change your mind?” Daniel asked later while munching on his vanilla flavored spoon.

He was still bashful judging by his red ears, faint smile, and how he had a hard time looking at his face for more than a few seconds at a time. Seongwoo found it adorable and amusing that the cheesy lines were likely ringing in his head still, but he didn’t tease him for fear that he’d duck under the table again. He wanted to spend the rest of their special night celebrating together so he had to curb his more wicked urges.

He knew the reaction was going to be like this, but he hadn’t thought that his event would affect him that badly. Turns out that Daniel was worse off with that sort of thing. Or maybe it was different for the one receiving than the one giving. If the roles had been reversed, he might have done the same or even broken the window to escape, who knew. Hopefully, Daniel would never repeat this as revenge.

Seongwoo shrugged, setting aside his spoon because he was full.

“I just felt like not objecting or arguing my position on marriage anymore. You showed me that my idea wasn’t set in stone. That not all relationships are doomed after becoming legalized. I felt bad seeing you prepare and scheme for me all the time. It must have been exhausting, no matter how much you like me. I’m sorry,” he commented, sincere and soft, while squeezing the younger’s hand resting on top of the table.

“So, you’re seriously fine with continuing as we are? You don’t want to have any more time to think about it?”

Seongwoo nodded, washing away the other’s nerves. They both smiled broadly, faces glowing with happiness.

“I was actually sure around two months ago that I wanted to stay married. I am now just praying every night that we have a happy ending as your parents have, unlike my own.”

“As long as you’re with me, I’m happy until the end of time.”

“As long as we’re where though? Anywhere? Even the North Pole or the desert or a swamp swarming with bugs?”

Daniel nodded at each question vigorously. “As long as you’re in my heart and I’m in yours. Then, it’s definitely a happy ending. Wouldn’t you say?”

Seongwoo snorted, then covered his face as he burst into giggles and flushed. He wanted to scold Daniel but he was genuinely taken aback by the attack and overwhelmed by his embarrassment. Even though he liked it, that was so ridiculously cheesy it was overwhelming. He playfully swatted his hand in reprimand. The younger sat there with a smug smile, satisfied with his minor revenge. Then he jutted his head to Seongwoo’s phone sitting on the table which was flashing with an incoming call.

“It’s Minhyun. Shouldn’t you get it? He’s probably curious what did I say. Or if I’m still alive.”

“You didn’t answer though,” Seongwoo pointed out as he snatched the phone up. “Are you willing to stay married to me? This moody, difficult, lazy prankster that I am.”

Daniel responded confidently while brushing his wrist. “More than willing. I refuse to have it any other way. I’ll never let you divorce me, just watch.”

Seongwoo smiled sweetly while raising the phone up to his ear. “I won’t even look up about the process, don’t worry. Once I make a decision, I’m firm on it. Sometimes it just takes awhile to get to the conclusion.”

“Over a year, yeah. I’d say that’s certainly true, you turtle,” Daniel muttered with a teasing smirk, playing footsie with him under the table as he answered the phone. “You sure know how to make people wait. Like your poor best friend. He’s calling the second time. Pick it up already.”

Seongwoo resisted flirting and playing with Daniel’s hands some more. He sat back while putting the buzzing, flashing phone to his ear, eyes on Daniel as he dug in for a giant spoonful of dripping ice cream.

“What’s up, Min? Yeah, I really went through with it. I didn’t back out. Told you so. You owe me ten caramel macchiatos. Have Jaehwan swing by and give me a Starbucks card tomorrow, I see him there all the time. How do you think he took it? Of course, we have the same opinion. He’s head over heels for me, what are you saying? He’d never want to leave me even if I can be an insensitive jerk sometimes. Yah, enough insulting me! Let me live for one day, would you? It happens to be special, you know.”

“It’s fine. You can talk longer. I don’t mind. Not like I’m going anywhere anytime soon,” Daniel whispered, rubbing his fingers together when they happened to come close enough, smiling in a goofy, smitten manner as he watched the elder’s amusing expressions change every couple seconds like a professional actor.

Seongwoo’s sparkly doe eyes popped wide in panic, his hand turning and snatching his wrist. His thin, wavy lips pursed into the world’s cutest pout. “Hmm? You’re going? No, you can’t go anywhere. Not now, not ever. You have to stay by my side.”

Daniel burst out laughing as Seongwoo turned flaming grapefruit with a look of mortification and regret once he realized what he’d blurted out and how clingy he was being. Minhyun and Jaehwan listening on speaker phone were also laughing on the other side of the line, preparing to tease him relentlessly for weeks more surely.

“Wah, you’ve really changed, hyung. For the better though. I mean, I would love to stay by your side forever, of course. Especially when you act like Prince Cheese. But I have to leave to go to work, you know. I need to afford all your coffees and snacks.”

“Shut it. No, not you, Daniel. I mean, Minhyun. You know what I meant by that. Obviously, we can’t be physically together forever. I mean more like – Yah! Stop laughing, all of you! This is embarrassing enough for a lifetime! Let me live! Do you know how hard today was for me who sucks at being expressive? How much I had to practice those lines to come out natural? I thought I was going to shrivel up like a prune I couldn’t stop cringing and stuttering at first! Show some respect and decency!”

 

 

 

Seongwoo leaned across the kitchen table, eyes judging the chewing Daniel expectantly. His nerves made the elder bite on his thumbs. He could hardly wait for Daniel to swallow and say what he thought about the dish he’d made for his dinner. The accountant was hungry because he’d made him wait after arriving from his commute.

“Well?” Eventually, the photographer could be patient no longer.

Daniel paused in chewing, one of his fluffy cheeks all the fluffier as it was filled with Spanish omelet.

 These days, Seongwoo had taken up a new hobby that unfortunately was one he discovered that he wasn’t naturally good at. That was unusual for him, not to mention incredibly frustrating. Most of his life, he’d been able to do anything he set his mind to as long as it wasn’t coordinated or team sports. Especially anything artistic was usually a cinch since he was more of a left-brainer.

He’d never thought it would be THIS difficult to follow some recipe book instructions to make edible food. Daniel often cooked for him and made it look so easy. This was the fourth dish he’d attempted, each one he’d chosen simpler than the last because of how terrible he was. He could never seem to get it right, although he followed the instructions and accompanying images diligently. In the end, he’d ended up giving up, settling for the final attempt because he was nearly out of materials and that was as good as it would ever seem to get with his cursed hands.

Daniel—bless his soul, he was still such a sweetheart that he deserved a truck sized trophy -- always attempted to pacify him by saying that taste was more important than appearance and that he was the sort of person that could digest anything, even rocks.

“It’s that bad?”

Seongwoo sighed, sank back in the chair and pouted sadly. Daniel was merely wiping his mouth but Seongwoo thought he had spit out the food.

“No, no, no. It’s not bad at all. It’s only a little crunchy. Otherwise it’s yummy. Today was a success, Chef Ddongwu!”

Daniel showed him that the napkin was empty,  smiling broadly from ear to ear. He even gave a cute thumbs up but Seongwoo wasn’t satisfied or convinced.

“Sorry. I can’t control the heat of the gas burner that well. I always leave the food in the pan too long and burn it. But it didn’t look done inside. I couldn’t feed you runny eggs either. You would get a stomachache and diarrhea then. Here, let me toss it. We can just eat out tonight. Again, like every other night.”

Daniel slid the plate away from his hand, blocking entrance with a crossed knife and fork.

“Nuh-uh. Not tonight. This is my tasty omelet. I’m going to eat all of it. Crunchy parts and all. I actually like when something is burnt because it’s smokey, savory, and crisp. Honest. Tonight’s meal is very much edible, so there’s no need to waste money.”

Seongwoo narrowed his eyes. “You’re such a liar. No-one likes something burnt. You don’t need to be nice like that. I know I suck at this. Stop buttering me up.”

“Hmm, you’re not all that good at it but I won’t say that you suck. It’s tasty because it’s season well and you didn’t catch anything on fire. I think that’s better than many beginners. I have an idea. If you want to learn how to cook or share that chore with me, then why don’t we just do it together? We make a great team in most things. Let’s split the roles and I’ll teach you slowly step-by-step, catch where you might be messing up.”

Seongwoo bit his lip, hesitating. “I wanted to do something for you though…on my own…”

“You do lots for me, Seongwoo-yah. So much more than you think. You just aren’t thinking hard enough. You rub my shoulders when they ache, for example. Set out my suit and matching shoes in the morning since I’m lazy and just would grab anything. You put toothpaste on my toothbrush while you’re brushing yours. You bring me a towel before I finish taking a shower because I usually forget. You greet me with a smile and a warm hug whenever I come home. It’s the little things that count. Those things that show you have sense and care for me. And it’s enough. I promise. Let me help my sweet, hard-working husband with the chores like this though. Until you can do it confidently by yourself. I don’t like seeing you upset and disappointed like this. I’d rather eat food that’s burnt black for a straight month.”

Seongwoo smiled softly, observing silently as Daniel rubbed his hands together. It was amusing because in previous months Daniel would have likely teased him for how terrible it tasted, that there was something the perfectionist couldn’t do well, and Seongwoo would have gotten more upset, probably stormed out and yelling that he’d never cook again for his ungrateful, insensitive ass. Nowadays, Daniel knew how to predict when it was alright to tease his firecracker of a lover and when it was best not to. He could avoid his shaky mood from exploding dangerously like it had in the past, successfully saying just the right words that he needed to hear to feel comforted, calming his ruffled kitten fur immediately.

Seongwoo had changed a lot as well. He could handle Daniel’s jokes and control his mood swings better, snapping and getting serious only sometimes. He was used to, even adored and became amused by that ‘choding’ side of his lover. He could express his feelings and desires openly most of the time. He could even swallow his pride, accept the fact that there were things that he couldn’t really do well, and allow Daniel to help him out.

“Sure, I’d like that. Teach me how to cook your favorites at least. I don’t think I can stand cooking every day for you but at least when you’re working late or on some special occasions, I’d like to do that for you. Please help me because I’m such a godawful, totally lost chef.”

Daniel chuckled, gazing at him with the sweetest fond expression. He reached up and lightly pinched his cheek. Seongwoo shyly grinned and flushed, subtly pressing into his hand for more contact. Daniel opened up his hand, pressing the flat of his palm to his cheek and cradling there, thumb brushing his signature constellation moles tenderly.

Daniel cooed as if he were coddling a child. “Aigoo, look at you. Such a big boy you are now. Soon you’ll be cooking like one too.”

Seongwoo scrunched up his nose, warning, “Keep teasing me and I’ll stuff this nasty burnt omelet into you, nose holes first.”

“Please have mercy. Eating too much burnt stuff is a cause of cancer.”

“Shit, Daniel. Why didn’t you say that before?!” Seongwoo gasped, thinking about all the burnt foods they’d ate the past week.

Daniel merely laughed as he tugged the elder up and pulled him back into the messy kitchen. He had Seongwoo step in front of him by the counter, wrapping his arms around his tummy and laying his chin on his shoulder so they were in a comfortable back hug. It felt as natural as breathing, as pleasant, warm, and comforting as a campfire.

“It’s not anything to worry about yet. I’ll teach you how to cook things in oil without burning them. First, let’s start with checking the way you crack and scramble your eggs. I think I ate a shell earlier.”

Seongwoo groaned, flushing with humiliation. “Ugh, I swore I thought I’d picked all those pieces out. Why is it so hard to crack an egg open even? I can’t do the most basic things with cooking. I’m fucking cooking challenged, cooking-capped.”

“You’re probably not controlling your strength or pressing too much is all. Just show me and if you’re wrong then, I’ll stop you. From now on, it’s Cooking 101 with Daniel Sunsengnim. Are you ready, student Seongwoo?”

Seongwoo giggled, half from the idea of roleplay and part because Daniel had squeezed his little love handles.

“Neh, Ssaem~”

As a team, while joking around, helping each other, and sharing in some stolen kisses here and there, the lovey dovey married couple made a delicious as well as visually appealing omelet for their dinner. The omelet incident became a symbol of their marriage somehow – it could change for the better and be everything they ever wanted if they worked together on it.